Varanasi cops cane women and kids
Police have been accused of baton-charging women and children at a ground in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency, when they had gathered for a protest against the new citizenship act.
Eyewitnesses said personnel from 10 police stations, the provincial armed constabulary and the Rapid Action Force waited two hours for the protesters to gather inside the Beniyabagh ground before charging in a little after noon.
Prabhakar Chaudhary, senior superintendent of police, Varanasi, said the police used mild force to disperse the crowd, which numbered around a hundred, but denied that any woman had been mistreated.
Afreen Begum, a middle-aged protester, told local reporters the force not only used batons but also pelted them with stones.
“The police injured many women and children. They were using the foulest of words while chasing us and beating us with lathis and rifle butts. There were policewomen, too, but only policemen were attacking us,” she said. “Even Hindu women and children were there at the protest.”
Asked about the baton-charge, SSP Chaudhary said: “Section 144 of the CrPC is in force to prevent gatherings of more than four people at a place. But some people misled the women and provoked them to gather there. They didn’t have permission for a dharna. Some men have been detained for breach of peace.”
Varanasi district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said cases would be registered against the women too. “We are trying to identify the protesters with the help of video footage and will take action against them.”